Businesses are seeing great value in installing converged Information Technology and Operation Technology (IT/OT) to gather and organize data and then applying out-of-the-box manufacturing analytics to have an insight to production losses, the efficacy of the labor force, and the efficiency of material as it moves through their plants — not just locally but globally. These new business insights will support significant increases in overall production volume for the entire business.

Market share, new product innovation and revenue are no longer driven merely by traditional sales, but by the business insights that an combination of data from the whole operation can provide. As the substructure the OT traditionally manages develops increasingly connected, OT teams gains access to data through the organization’s plants. In order to take benefit of that data and develop meaningful insights that result in improved capacity, faster NPI (New Product Introduction) and revenue-driving change, OT needs to imagine their enterprise more broadly, offering high-level viewpoints on what answers they need from the data being generated by installed software, production assets, and even their workforce.

They can ensure this by leveraging the knowledge of their IT teams and asset performance data to get new operations online faster, spot anomalies more quickly and accurately, and find inefficiencies in their supply chain. OT can use data intelligence to improve their decision making, material and asset utilization, reduce waste, and create accurate and timely insights into operations.

To put this simple, a procedure engineer might traditionally assist multiple plants across a wide geographic area at a given time. In many cases, cloud-based manufacturing execution systems (MES) are no longer deployed fragmentary in the field and no longer require independent software installations, saving around 50 percent in support and rollout costs in most cases. All the services, software and data are hosted in a global data center that allows access to one set of complete, actionable data. Once cloud-based monitoring and analytics solutions become a foundational component of the business model, each plant becomes geographically omnipresent; engineers can settle into an office location of their choice and remotely monitor and analyze performance in real-time. This scenario is becoming more popular as the security capabilities of cloud services have become more forceful.

The development of cloud-based analytics makes the conditions for IT and OT to partner and create a business environment in which it is much simpler to develop global benchmarking and where size can be performed daily instead of weekly or monthly. Remote engineers are able to use the same tools as those who are on-site, which vastly increases the rate of failure detection and dramatically decreases the time needed to get an asset back to full health.